It has been a difficult week and I'm glad it's over.
Monday, May 3rd, late afternoon we received a message to say my sister-in-law, Jenny, was in the serious trauma unit at Waikato Hospital following a car accident.
Tuesday, May 4th, mid-morning another message to tell us Jenny was brain dead but they were waiting for a family member and the organ donor team before turning off life support later that evening.
Wednesday, May 5th. Mum's 95th Birthday. Mum's 93 year old brother and his daughter travelled from Morrinsville to have lunch with us. We had a pleasant day in spite of the grief and had lots of time to share some lovely memories.
Thursday, May 6th Jay, our daughter, joined her cousins in Matamata for two nights while TWJ and I stayed with Mum.
Saturday, May 7th, Mum's 95th Birthday #2 Some of Mum's and cousins, nieces and nephews visited. Sixteen or eighteen people shared the day and we have more nice memories.
Sunday, May 8th, TWJ and I had a quiet day at home.
Monday, May 9th, was Jenny's funeral in Matamata. It was a long day, very emotional but it all went well. The weather stayed fine. I always feel a little guilty when the land is crying out for rain and I am relieved there is none. Having admitted this little flaw, at one point heavy rain had been forecast and had it eventuated the day would have been so much more difficult, especially the driving. We left home a little later than planned because the car wouldn't start so we had to put the charger on the battery for about 2o minutes. I think that means we need a new battery. Just as well we allowed ourselves plenty of time. For TWJ and I there was a total of 6 or 7 hours driving in total. We left home about 9.30 am and it was 10 pm before we were home after settling Mum. My brother had taken her to his home on Sunday afternoon as they live closer to Matamata. That gave Mum a chance to nurse and cuddle her youngest great grandchild, Taylor, who was 2 weeks old.
We stopped at the Kaimai Cheese Factory Cafe for some lunch. There was only one thing on the menu I felt comfortable with and it was a roasted Kumera, (sweet potato), salad. It was just the right size and served me well. Except for one thing. I dripped olive oil dressing on my white top leaving a nasty greeny yellow stain. I was so cross with myself. One of the problems being overweight is that I don't sit up close to the table and then there are the boobs sticking out like monster food catchers. Fortunately a lot of scrubbing away with damp tissues reduced the stain to not so obvious. Many of Jenny's Auckland friends had made the same stop but we didn't really know them so it was after the service when we got to talk with them.
It is always a surprise to see who comes to share their grief and support the family at a funeral and yesterday was no exception. My family lived around Matamata from 1960 to 2000. Jenny had lived there all her life, except for a few years at boarding school, and the last few years when she travelled and joined an agency in U.K. for 'Companions' to the frail wealthy/upper-class. She had a very rich and interesting life having travelled on every continent and visited many countries including her most recent trip to Iceland.
The service was beautifully planned including a slide show with some of her favourite songs like, I Believe. I came so close to wailing when the photos of Jenny and my brother, (who died of cancer more than 35 years ago), displayed. It was just too much. I sat there biting the inside of my lip and taking deep breaths, knowing that it would only take one person to lose it and we would all be sobbing loudly.
The family had invited people to give tributes so that they followed a more or less chronological pattern of Jenny's life. I would have liked to have spoken for our family but was very relieved when a close friend said it all. Neither I nor my younger brother were capable of speaking.
The tide recedes but leaves behind
bright shells upon the shore.
The sun goes down but gentle warmth
still lingers on the land.
The music stops and yet it lingers
on in sweet refrain.
For every joy that passes
something beautiful remains.
Author unknown. The poem was on the Order of Service.
from the left
Jenny, Jay, Jay's boyfriend, Jenny's eldest daughter and her husband.